Nanotech 2010

Electrically conductive fibers based on MWCNT-thermoplastic composites

F. Martin, G.G. Fuentes, R.J. Rodriguez, I. De Schrijver
Asociacion de Industria Navarra, ES

Keywords: conductive fiber, carbon nanotube, MWCNT, sonication, smart materials


We report here a new family of non-metallic electrical conductive materials that can be extruded into fibers. The resulting thermoplastic-MWCNT (multi wall nanotube) fibers present conductivities within the Electro Magnetic Dissipation (EMI) region. Metallic fibers are expensive, brittler and heavier than most textile fibers, making it difficult to produce homogenous blends and also they can suffer galvanic corrosion. It is also possible to impart electrical conductivity to commercial fibers by non-metallic conductive coatings. Nevertheless, intrinsically conductive fibers have a major advantage compare with the conductive fibers based on coated yarns because the former can not suffer from delamination, which clearly affects the electrical conductivity. In collaboration with the Belgium Textile Research Centre (CENTEXBEL) we are developing new conductive fibers based on thermoplastic-MWCNT composites. Using an improved mixing method to produce the composite master-batches (assisted by ultrasonication) has led to better dispersion levels of CNT compared to the other composites tested (obtained by traditional melt-mixing methods). In good agreement with the high dispersion levels observed, the conductivity and spinability of the material into fibers are better, too. Using this method, we have produced polypropylene composites (5% MWCNT) with low surface resistance (10 Ω/square) that can be extruded into fibers.
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